Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-qdp55 Total loading time: 0.272 Render date: 2021-12-06T12:33:24.872Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Techniques of Ancient Maya Bone Working: Evidence from a Classic Maya Deposit

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Kitty F. Emery*
Affiliation:
Florida Museum of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, University of Florida 117800, Gainesville, FL 32611-7800 (kemery@flmnh.ufl.edu)

Abstract

An assemblage of modified bone remains from the site of Dos Pilas, Guatemala, in the southern Maya lowlands, is used to describe the raw materials, tools, techniques, and reduction strategies of Classic period Maya bone working. Most Maya bone artifact assemblages are not closely associated with production locales, are sparsely distributed across sites (rarely more than a few per household), and include primarily finished artifacts. In contrast, this large collection includes high frequencies of debitage from all stages of artifact production in a single spatially and temporally discrete locus—a residential group close to the main plaza of the site and occupied both before and after political disintegration of the Petexbatún hegemony. Comparative Petexbatún materials are used to suggest that although the Dos Pilas assemblage is unusually dense, the methods used by the bone crafters in this complex were similar to those used in all other periods and locations in the region and likely in the southern Maya lowlands as a whole. The Dos Pilas assemblage presents therefore an excellent model for Classic Maya bone-working.

Resumen

Resumen

Analizamos una muestra de restos óseos modificados del sitio de Dos Pilas, Guatemala para describir sus materias primas, herramientas utilizadas, técnicas y estrategias de reducción en tiempos clásicos mayas. La mayoría de los conjuntos óseos artefactuales mayas no están asociadas a un lugar de producción, sino más bien están esparcidos en los sitios e incluyen sobre todo artefactos terminados. A diferencia de esto, esta muestra incluye altas frecuencias de restos de todos los estados de producción en una ubicación cronológicamente discreta—un grupo residencial ocupado antes y después de la desintegración política de la hegemonía del Petexbatún. Su comparación con materiales de otros sitios y períodos de Petexbatún indican que, a pesar de que la colección de Dos Pilas es inusualmente densa, sus métodos fueron semejantes a aquellos de todos períodos y sitios de la región. La muestra de Dos Pilas presenta, por esta razón, un modelo excelente para el estudio de la elaboración de artefactos óseos de los mayas del Clásico.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Andrews, E. Wyllys 1969 The Archaeological Use and Distribution of Mollusca in the Maya Lowlands. Publication 34. Middle American Research Institute, New Orleans.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aoyama, Kazuo 1994 Socioeconomic Implications of Chipped Stone from the La Entrada Region, Western Honduras. Journal of Field Archaeology 21:133145.Google Scholar
Aoyama, Kazuo 1995 Microwear Analysis in the Southeast Maya Lowlands: Two Case Studies at Copán, Honduras. Latin American Antiquity 6:129144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aoyama, Kazuo 2001 Classic Maya State, Urbanism, and Exchange: Chipped Stone Evidence of the Copán Valley and Its Hinterland. American Anthropologist 103:346360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Aoyama, Kazuo 2007 Elite Artists and Craft Producers in Classic Maya Society: Lithic Evidence from Aguateca, Guatemala. Latin American Antiquity 18:326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnold, Jeanne 1994 Independent or Attached Specialization: The Organization of Shell Bead Production in California. Journal of Field Archaeology 21:473489.Google ScholarPubMed
Campana, Douglas 1987 The Manufacture of Bone Tools in the Zagros and the Levant. MASCA Journal 4:110123.Google Scholar
Camps-Fabrer, Henriette 1990 Fiches Typologiques de l’Industrie Osseuse Prehistorique: Cahier 3: Poincons, Pointes, Poignards, Aigulles Publications de l’Universite de Provence, Aix-en-Provence. Union Internationale des Sciences Préhis-toriques et Protohistoriques, Provence.Google Scholar
Camps-Fabrer, Henriette 1991 Fiches Typologiques de l’Industrie Osseuse Prehistorique: Cahier 4: Objets de Parure. Publications de l’Universite de Provence, Aix-en-Provence. Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques, Provence.Google Scholar
Chase, Arlen 1992 Elites and the Changing Organization of Classic Maya Society. In Mesoamerican Elites: An Archaeological Assessment, edited by Diane Chase and Arlen Chase, pp. 3049. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.Google Scholar
Choyke, Alice, and Bartosiewicz, Lazlo (editors) 2001 Crafting Bone: Skeletal Technologies through Time and Space. BAR International Series 937. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.Google Scholar
Clark, J. G. D., and Thompson, M. W. 1953 The Groove and Splinter Technique of Working Antler in Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europe. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 19:148160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cobos, Rafael 1989 Shelling In: Marine Mollusca at Chichen Itza. In Coastal Maya Trade, edited by Heather McKillop and Paul Healy, pp. 4958. Trent University Occasional Papers in Anthropology No. 8. Trent University, Peterborough.Google Scholar
Coe, Michael 2001 Supernatural Patrons of Maya Scribes and Artists. In The Decipherment of Ancient Maya Writing, edited by Stephen Houston, Oswaldo Chinchilla and David Stuart, pp. 453448. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.Google Scholar
Coe, William 1959 Piedras Negras Archaeology: Artifacts, Caches, and Burials. Museum Monographs. University Museum, University of Philadelphia, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Coggins, Clemency (editor) 1992 Artifacts from the Cenote of Sacrifice, Chichen Itza. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
Demarest, Arthur 1996 War, Peace, and the Collapse of a Native American Civilization: Lessons for Contemporary Systems of Conflict. In A Natural History of Peace, edited by Tom Gregor, pp. 215248. Papers from the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation Conference on War and Peace. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville.Google Scholar
Demarest, Arthur 1997 The Vanderbilt Petexbatún Regional Archaeological Project 1989–1994: Overview, History, and Major Results of a Multi-disciplinary Study of the Classic Maya Collapse. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:209227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Demarest, Arthur, O’Mansky, Matthew, Wolley, Claudia, Van Tuerenhout, Dirk, Inomata, Takeshi, Palka, Joel, and Escobedo, Hector 1997 Classic Maya Defensive Systems and Warfare in the Petexbatún Region: Archaeological Evidence and Interpretations. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:229253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
d’Errico, Francesco, Giacobini, B., and Puech, P. F. 1984 An Experimental Study of the Technology of Bone-Implement Manufacture. MASCA Journal 3:7174.Google Scholar
Dreiss, Meredith 1994 The Shell Artifacts of Colha: The 1983 Season. In Continuing Archaeology at Colha, Belize, edited by Tom Hester, Harry Shafer, and Jack Eaton, pp. 177200. Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory, Studies in Archaeology 16, Austin.Google Scholar
Dunning, Nicholas, Beach, Timothy, and Rue, David 1997 The Paleoecology and Ancient Settlement of the Petexbatún Region, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:255266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emery, Kitty 1992 Manufactura y Uso de Artefactos de Huesos Animales en la Región Petexbatún. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminary, Cuarta Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest, Takeshi Inomata, and Héctor Escobedo, pp. 301309. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 1995a Manufactura de Artefactos de Hueso en la Región Petexbatún: Un Taller de Producción de Herramientas de Hueso del Sitio Dos Pilas, Petén, Guatemala In VIII Simposio de Arqueología Guatemalteca, 1994, edited by Juan Pedro Laporte and Héctor Escobedo, pp. 315331. Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, IDAEH, Asociación Tikal, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 1995b Microhuellas de Producción y Uso en los Artefactos del Taller de Hueso de Dos Pilas: Informe Preliminar de Investigaciones. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 1996 Excavaciones en el Taller de Dos Pilas (Grupo L4-3). In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #6, Sexta Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 1997 The Maya Collapse: A Zooarchaeological Inquiry. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University, New York.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 2001 The Economics of Bone Artifact Production in the Ancient Maya Lowlands. In Crafting Bone: Skeletal Technologies through Time and Space, edited by Alice Choyke and Lazlo Bartosiewicz, pp. 7384. British Archaeological Reports International Series 937. Oxford.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 2004 Environments of the Maya Collapse: A Zooarchaeological Perspective from the Petexbatún, Guatemala. In Maya Zooarchaeology: New Directions in Method and Theory, edited by Kitty Emery, pp. 8196. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty 2006 Maya Bone Crafting: Defining the Nature of a Late/Terminal Classic Maya Bone Tool Manufacturing Locus. Manuscript on file, Environmental Archaeology Program, Florida Museum of Natural History. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, in press.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty, and Aoyama, Kazuo 2007 Bone Tool Manufacturing in Elite Maya Households at Aguateca, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 18:6989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emery, Kitty, Palka, Joel, Foias, Antonia, and Wright, Lori 2008 Exploring Classic Maya Transitions: Excavations in an Unusual Late/Terminal Classic Residential Group at the Site of Dos Pilas, Petexbatún, Guatemala. Manuscript on file, Environmental Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History. Unpublished manuscript. In preparation for submission to Journal of Field Archaeology.Google Scholar
Emery, Kitty, Wright, Lori, and Schwarcz, Henry 2000 Isotopic Analysis of Ancient Deer Bone: Isotopic Stability in Collapse Period Maya Land-Use. Journal of Archaeological Science 27:537550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Escobedo, Héctor 1997 Arroyo de Piedra: Sociopolitical Dynamics of a Secondary Center in the Petexbatún Region. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:307320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fash, William 1991 Scribes, Warriors, and Kings. Thames and Hudson, London.Google Scholar
Foias, Antonia 1998 La Vida al Borde del Colápso: Resultados de la Primera Temporada del Proyecto Arqueológico La Amelia, Petén. Utz’ib 2:119.Google Scholar
Foias, Antonia, and Bishop, Ron 1997 Changing Ceramic Production and Exchange in the Petexbatún Region, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:275291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foias, Antonia, and Joe Brandon, R. 1992 Excavaciones en el Grupo Tardío L4-3: Operacién DPI. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #4, Cuarta Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest, Takeshi Inomata and Hector Escobedo, pp. 1329. Instituto de Antropologíae Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Foias, Antonia, and Robles, Tere 1989 Excavaciones de Rescate del Campamento y Análisis de los Artefactos Recuperados: La Cerámica de las Operaciones DPIA. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #1, Primera Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest and Stephen Houston, pp. 5261. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Fowler, William 1991 Lithic Analysis as a Means of Processual Inference in Southern Mesoamerica: A Review of Recent Research. In Maya Stone Tools: Selected Papers from the Second Maya Lithic Conference, edited by Tom Hester and Harry Shafer, pp. 119. Prehistory Press, Madison, Wisconsin.Google Scholar
Gates St. Pierre, Christian, and Walker, Renee (editors) 2007 Bones as Tools: Current Methods and Interpretations in Worked Bone Studies. BAR International Series 1622. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.Google Scholar
Hayden, Brian (editor) 1979 Lithic Use-Wear Analysis. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
Hester, Tom, and Hammond, Norman (editors) 1979 Maya Lithic Studies: Papers from the 1979 Belize Field Symposium. Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio.Google Scholar
Houston, Stephen 1987 The Inscriptions and Monumental Art of Dos Pilas, Guatemala: A Study of Classic Maya History and Politics. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Yale University.Google Scholar
Houston, Stephen 1993 Hieroglyphs and History at Dos Pilas: Dynastic Politics of the Classic Maya. University of Texas Press, Austin.Google Scholar
Houston, Stephen, and Mathews, Peter 1985 The Dynastic Sequence of Dos Pilas, Guatemala. Precolumbian Art Research Institute Monograph 1. Precolumbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Inomata, Takeshi 1995 Archaeological Investigations at the Fortified Center of Aguateca, El Petén, Guatemala: Implications for the Study of the Classic Maya Collapse. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University.Google Scholar
Inomata, Takeshi 1997 The Last Day of a Fortified Classic Maya Center: Archaeological Investigations at Aguateca, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:337351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Inomata, Takeshi 2001 The Power and Ideology of Artistic Creation. Current Anthropology 42:321349.Google Scholar
Johnston, Kevin, Inomata, Takeshi, and Palka, Joel 1989 Excavaciones de Rescate del Campamento y Análisis de los Artefactos Recuperados: Excavaciones de la Operación 1. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #1, Primera Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest and Stephen Houston, pp. 2952. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Kidder, Alfred 1932 The Artifacts of Pecos. Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology, Phillips Academy. Yale University Press, New Haven.Google Scholar
MacGregor, Arthur 1985 Bone, Antler, Ivory, and Horn: The Technology of Skeletal Materials since the Roman Period. Croom Helm, London.Google Scholar
Mathews, Peter, and Willey, Gordon 1991 Prehistoric Polities of the Pasion Region: Hieroglyphic Texts and their Archaeological Settings. In Classic Maya Political History: Hieroglyphic and Archaeological Evidence, edited by T. Patrick Culbert, pp. 3071. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
McComb, Patricia 1989 Upper Palaeolithic Osseous Artifacts from Britain and Belgium: An Inventory and Technological Description. BAR International Series 481. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.Google Scholar
McKillop, Heather, and Winemiller, Terance 2004 Ancient Maya Environment, Settlement, and Diet: Quantitative and GIS Analyses of Mollusca from Frenchman’s Cay, Belize. In Maya Zooarchaeology: New Directions in Method and Theory, edited by Kitty Emery, pp. 5780. Institute of Archaeology, UCLA Press, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, Hattula 1985 The Social and Ceremonial Uses of Marine Molluscs at Tikal. In Prehistoric Lowland Maya Environment and Subsistence Economy, pp. 5780, edited by Mary Pohl, pp. 147157. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 77. Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, Hattula 1994 Tikal Material Culture: Artifacts and Social Structure at a Classic Lowland Maya City. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, Hattula 2003 The Artifacts of Tikal: Utilitarian and Residual Artifacts and Unworked Materials. Tikal Report 27, Part B. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Newcomer, Mark 1974 Study and Replication of Bone Tools from Ksar Akil (Lebanon). World Archaeology 6:138153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olsen, Sandra 1988 The Identification of Stone and Metal Tool Marks on Bone Artifacts. In Scanning Electron Microscopy in Archaeology, edited by Sandra Olsen, pp. 338360. BAR International Series 452. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.Google Scholar
O’Mansky, Matthew, Suasnavar, José, Hinson, Joshua, Wolley, Claudia, and Sunahara, Kay 1996 El Reconocimiento Intersitio de la Región Petexbatún: Transectos 2, 3, 4. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #6, Sexta Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Palka, Joel 1995 Classic Maya Social Inequality and the Collapse at Dos Pilas, Petén, Guatemala. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University.Google Scholar
Palka, Joel 1997 Reconstructing Classic Maya Socioeconomic Differentiation and the Collapse at Dos Pilas, Petén, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:293306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Palka, Joel, and Foias, Antonia 1991 Operacion DP2; Excavaciones en la Plaza Mayor de Dos Pilas. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest, Takeshi Inomata, Joel Palka, and Héctor Escobedo, pp. 1235. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Reents-Budet, Dorie 1994 Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period. Duke University Press, Durham.Google Scholar
Rice, Prudence 1987 Economic Change in the Lowland Maya Late Classic Period. In Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies, edited by Elizabeth Brumfiel and Timothy Earle, pp. 7685. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
Ricketson, Edith 1937 The Artifacts. In Uaxactún, Gautemala: Group E - 1926–1931, edited by Oliver Ricketson and Edith Ricketson. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C. Google Scholar
Sabloff, Jeremy, and Rathje, William 1975 Changing Pre-Columbian Commercial Systems Peabody Museum Monograph no. 3. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
Semenov, Sergei 1985 Prehistoric Technology: An Experimental Study of the Oldest Tools and Artefacts from Traces of Manufacture and Wear. Barnes and Noble Books, Totowa.Google Scholar
Sheets, Payson 1975 Behavioral Analysis and the Structure of a Prehistoric Industry. Current Anthropology 16:369378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suárez, Lourdes 1974 Técnicas Prehispánicas de los Objetos de Concha. Colección Científica 14. INAA, México, D.F. Google Scholar
Suárez Diez, Lourdes 1986 Talleres de Concha. In Unidades Habitacionales Mesoamericanas y Sur Areas de Actividad, edited by Linda Manzanilla, pp. 115124. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F. Google Scholar
Valdés, Juan Antonio 1997 Tamarindito: Archaeology and Regional Politics in the Petexbatún Region. Ancient Mesoamerica 8:321335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Tuerenhout, Dirk 1996 Rural Fortifications at Quim Chi Hilan, El Petén, Guatemala: Late Classic Maya Social Change Seen from a Small Site Perspective. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans.Google Scholar
Vokes, Harold, and Vokes, Emily 1983 Distribution of Shallow-Water Marine Mollusca, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico Publication 54. Middle American Research Institute, New Orleans.Google Scholar
Wake, Thomas 1999 Bone Artifact Production and Distribution at Ujuxte, Guatemala Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology Meeting, Chicago.Google Scholar
West-Scott, Karen 1980 Antler and Bone Artifacts from the 1980 Season at Colha, Belize. In The Colha Project, Second Season, 1980 Interim Report, edited by Tom Hester, Jack Eaton and Harry Shafer, pp. 317326. Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas, San Antonio.Google Scholar
Wright, Lori 1990 Operación DPI: Sondeos en el Grupo L4–3. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatún: Informe Preliminar #2, Segunda Temporada, edited by Arthur Demarest and Stephen Houston, pp. 1331. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala.Google Scholar
11
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Techniques of Ancient Maya Bone Working: Evidence from a Classic Maya Deposit
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Techniques of Ancient Maya Bone Working: Evidence from a Classic Maya Deposit
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Techniques of Ancient Maya Bone Working: Evidence from a Classic Maya Deposit
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *